On their first album in almost six years, Kranky's drone stars explore the difference between music and sound, turning in an effort that's much more minimal and muted than 2001's outstanding The Tired Sounds of...
Vernon gives a soulful performance full of intuitive swells and fades, his phrasing and pronunciation making his voice as much a purely sonic instrument as his guitar.
On Neon Bible, the band looks outward instead of inward, their concerns more worldly than familial, and their sound more malevolent than cathartic.
Though it doesn't quite match College Dropout or Late Registration in pleasure-center overload, Kanye West's third album is both his most consistent and most enterprising yet, indicating that he might actually deserve the legendary status he constantly ascribes to himself.
Like those on their last album, these songs reveal themselves gradually but surely, building to the inevitable moment when they hit you in the gut.
Untrue is an album meant to be heard at home, in the car, on headphones-- his songs feel almost like beautiful secrets being whispered to a listener.
It's a bare bones compositional gambit that could wind up utterly irritating, but with the ears of a hip-hop cratedigger and the hands of a surgeon is bliss.
Mirrored is a breathtaking aesthetic left-turn that sounds less like rock circa 2007 than rock circa 2097, a world where Marshall stacks and micro-processing go hand in hand.
With Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga, Spoon have once again found a gray area between the poles of pop accessibility and untested studio theorizing, modifying a formula that has grown to feel familiar even as it wanders, and refusing to square the circle while doing so.
The story of this record ... is the strength of Avey Tare's voice, and how his singing anchors these songs, invigorates the band's idiosyncratic melodies, and offers a clear portal into Animal Collective's utopian dreamworld.
It's not the direction many of their fans might've imagined they'd take, but it's that very attribute that makes it so ceaselessly fascinating and inexhaustibly replayable.
Radiohead's sudden willingness to embrace their capacity for uncomplicated beauty might be In Rainbows' most distinguishing quality, and one of the primary reasons it's an improvement on Hail to the Thief.
For all the choices she might have made and the audiences she might have aimed at, the fresh-sounding, adventurous, and not-exactly-accessible Kala is the kind of record that obviously demanded a defined personal vision.
Far removed from the compressed, trebly, and overmastered paradigm that's gripped electronic music in the last decade, Sound of Silver sounds deep, spacious, and full-blooded.
It sounds like what it is: one guy alone in his bedroom trolling through music history, picking and choosing bits to make something deeply personal and all his own.